Chasing reds in Cocodrie

There’s nothing like throwing topwaters into a school of reds during a feeding frenzy.

And nothing beats topwater blowups from big bulls

Redfish in South Louisiana are plentiful 12 months out the year, and there are as many ways to catch them as lures to use. As with almost any fish, though, there’s no more fun way to catch a bull red than on a topwater lure.

That’s exactly what Cocodrie guide Capt. Tommy Pellegrin does this month.

“On the calm days, or any day with north wind where you can get on the beach, that’s what I’m going to look for to put customers on some of that stuff,” he said.

Pellegrin chases school of redfish on the beach from Little Pass to Coon Point.

“You have to spend your time,” he said. “You can’t just give up on it. It’s a timing deal.”

That timing can make things tricky because chasing schooling fish isn’t always dependable. Pellegrin said once you hit them, it’s important to note the conditions.

“The first time you find them — either remember it or write it down — what the situation was,” he said. “Was the tide going in, tide going out, what time of day — all of these things. Each day it’ll change an hour or half hour because of the tide change and wind change and moon change.”

In order to find fish, Pellegrin cruises the beach and keeps an eye on the surface of the water.

“It’ll happen most days, but the one thing that cuts you off is weather,” he said. “If it’s rough, the schools are there, you just can’t see them. The calmer it is, the more you can see them because even if they’re in 4 or 5 feet of water, when you get 300 fish swimming, it’s going to ruffle the water.”

Another easy way to locate the fish, Pellegrin said, is to find the birds.

“They don’t have to be busting the surface for you to find them, and when the water is calm and the redfish are there, the birds are flying overhead waiting for the (redfish) to start feeding,” he said. “When they start (crushing) everything, then the birds get to feed. They’ll always have birds pretty much on top of them.”

Once he locates a school, Pellegrin positions the boat in a strategic way.

“You can get right on top of them,” he said. “Some schools will get kind of spooky, but if you’ve got a 4-stroke engine, that’s quiet and you’re idling, take your motor and go way in front of them and let them come to you.”

Pellegrin simply follows the school and catches the fish throwing topwater baits and jigs.

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About Joel Masson 166 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at

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